The Abbaye aux Dames was founded by the count of Anjou Geoffroy Martel and his wife Agnès of Bourgogne.

Vers 1120-1130

The church is extended. Construction of the bell tower and work on the western façade.

clocher abbaye aux dames

Vers 1610 et 1648

Two successive fires cause vast amounts of damage.

The convent buildings are completely rebuilt under the supervision of the abbess Françoise de Foix.




The abbey is turned into a prison.



Un décret impérial transforme l’abbaye en caserne.



The town municipality buys the church and undertakes the first phase of its renovation.



The church is handed back for religious worship.



Creation of the Festival of Ancient Music.

This leads to an comprehensive restoration programme of the site.
Restoration of the monastic buildings that had been abandoned after the war.


ambiance festival de saintes


End of restoration work.

The cultural centre is inaugurated in the presence of the President François Mitterand.


Inauguration avec François Mitterrand


The ‘Musical Academies’ becomes the ‘Festival de Saintes’

concert festival de saintes 2006


The Abbaye aux Dames becomes the point of focus for music in Saintes.
Its spiritual and temporal influence has become economic, cutural and musical.


abbaye aux dames